The tyrannosaurus rex: the tyrant king of the carnivores, the most feared predator ever to live on this planet and the insignia of the University of Calgary Dinos. The Dinos women b-ballers are beginning to live up to their ominous emblem of late, winning their last four games and six of their last seven, extending their record to 9-7 for the season.
The Dinos' weekend buffet began with the enticing University of Regina Cougars, who went down smoothly 84-54, Fri., Jan. 19. Still not sated, the b-ballasaurs devoured the beleaguered Brandon University Bobcats 85-49 Sat., Jan. 20, finishing their home stand with a perfect 4-0 record.
The schedule is beginning to help the Dinos, the last four games have been at home against teams with a combined record of 8-40 in conference play. That is in stark contrast to the first half of the season, in which Calgary played on the road in six of their first 10 games, with eight of those games against teams with a ranking no lower than sixth in the country (University of Alberta, sixth, University of Saskatchewan, fourth, Simon Fraser University, third, University of British Columbia, second).
"The schedule is something that is out of your control," said Dinos head coach Shawnee Harle, who snuck away to Victoria Saturday night to attend a ceremony dedicating a gym to her close friends Ken and Cathy Shields. "We're just trying to focus on one team at a time. This is a tough road trip coming up for us."
Despite their recent success, the Dinos have struggled with getting wins on the road. Calgary has surrendered over 90 points in a game only three times - all in foreign territory. These defensive lapses have led to an abysmal 3-5 record when the Dinos have stepped outside of the comfortable confines of the Jack Simpson Gym. In all fairness though, the road hasn't been easy on our women b-ballasaurs.
"The toughest trip was to [British Columbia] at the beginning of the season." remembered rookie Ashley Hill, who is averaging 15 points per game in her last five and is among the leaders in three-point percentage. "Plane to Victoria, an hour bus ride to the hotel, play a game, take the ferry to Vancouver, then the bus again. That was the toughest."
This is a new team in the second half, though, which could lead to more success on the road. A confidence has captured this team, which was sorely lacking early in the year.
The Dinos face the University College of the Fraser Valley Cascades (7-11) Fri., Jan. 26, then they hop on the bus to take on the Thompson River Wolf Pack (2-16) Sat., Jan. 27. Unfortunately for the Dinos, the Cascades are an upstart team that might give them some problems.
"Our first opponent has had a lot of success for a first-year team," cautioned Harle. "[They] will test us in a lot of ways that are not necessarily Xs and Os."
Good teams spend less time worrying about things, instead investing that energy into winning. Harle summed it all up when asked if she was worried about her troops while she was away in Victoria.
"It didn't even cross my mind," said Harle without hesitation. "Good programs win all by themselves."